February 4, 2013 at 8:39 am , by Serina Patrick
When the 2.2 mile drive to 4th & Swift was deemed too far by LC, we chose a restaurant even closer to my place, Murphy’s, a veteran of Atlanta’s dining scene yet practically a stranger to me. In fact, my only memory of eating there was one unimpressive brunch. There were, however, multiple occassions that I stopped by the wine shop, back when I could afford to invest in a really good bottle.
It was around 8:30pm on a Friday and we didn’t have a reservation. The wait would be about 45 minutes, so we hovered near the bar hoping for two seats to open up, which happened almost immediately. But the bar staff of two was in the weeds, responsible for making cocktails for the entire restaurant as well as for those of us at the bar.
Noting our brief window of opportunity, I ordered both a half glass of prosecco and another of syrah to follow. LC ordered a tasty cocktail made with grapefruit and tequila. Plus, we had decided to try a cup of chicken tortilla soup and the three cheese flatbread.
When the cup of soup arrived, I was surprised that it had a creamy tomato base. Large squares of fried tortilla provided an awesome crunch factor paired with tender chunks of chicken and creamy slices of avocado. Fresh cilantro added the finishing touch to the zesty soup.
The crispy flatbread was the size of a small pizza. Beneath the blanket of dressed arugula, sweet mission figs, salty prosciutto, and sweet caramelized onions met with melted parmasan and romano (not sure what the third cheese was). We thoroughly enjoyed it.
The bar area suddenly cleared and we continued with dinner in a more tranquil setting, ordering the shrimp and grits entree with a side of local green beans. There was no mention of tomato in the description of the shrimp and grits, but when it arrived, the grits were encircled by what turned out to be a slightly spicy salsa. I really dislike tomato with seafood of any kind, so I would have preferred it without the salsa, but LC enjoyed it. The plump shrimps were accented by thin slices of andouille sausage, and an unnecessary poached egg. Green beans were oily and somewhat undercooked.
There is a dessert counter next to the hostess stand with a chalk board listing Murphy’s sweet offerings. I had already decided to have the apple bread pudding before we even discussed eating anything savory. I saved room for it and another half glass of Bell syrah.
Served in a tiny ramekin, cubes of apple bread with crusty edges emerged from the creamy pudding studded with raisins. A scoop of pistachio ice cream sat upon a bed of crunchy graham cracker crumbs, providing a array of textures and temperatures. Loved it!
On our way out we noticed a cookie jar that operates on the honor system, so we took a couple and left some cash, enjoying the chewy cookies as we strolled to the car. Murphy’s is a great neighborhood spot with a warm and inviting atmosphere, sure to continue to dominate the brunch scene.
997 Virginia Avenue NE 404-872-0909
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